MINEOLA — Thousands of Nassau County employees may soon see justice after a State Supreme Court justice recently ruled that a signed agreement to restore longevity pay to workers is valid.
Current Nassau County Executive Laura Curran’s administration is alleging that a 2017 agreement that restores county workers’ longevity pay, which was signed by the then-outgoing Mangano administration and five county unions, including CSEA, is invalid.
Curran’s administration noted that the previous administration had lacked the authority to negotiate the deal and that the previous county administration and the unions were misinformed about when the longevity pay would be reinstated when the agreement was made.
Our union contended that the agreement was legally binding, as it was signed and ratified by our union members.
The court agreed with CSEA and the other unions, noting in the Dec. 7 decision that the agreement between a Mangano administration official and the involved unions was “a valid and enforceable agreement between the parties.” The Curran administration had contended in the case filing that the agreement was “not enforceable because it was based upon a mutual mistake of fact.”
CSEA’s in-house Legal Department worked with our Nassau County Local on the case.
“We stood together to fight for what’s right for thousands of Nassau County employees,” CSEA President Danny Donohue said. “We are pleased with the decision, as it will go a long way toward making thousands of workers whole.”
The workers’ longevity pay has remained at the same rate since 2011, when the Nassau Interim Finance Authority (NIFA) implemented a wage freeze.
The freeze had caused financial difficulties for many of our members who are employed by the county. The freeze led to employee recruitment and retention issues, including for critical services such as emergency response and child protection.
The wage freeze was lifted in 2014, but longevity increases were not restored. For our members who have given years of service to the county, the longevity pay would be a major step in making them whole.
Earlier this year, CSEA and the other affected unions agreed to a plan that would allow the county to break up its payments, which saved the county about $5 million.
According to local media reports, it is unclear whether the county will appeal.
“CSEA members in Nassau County Local 830 are very happy about justice finally being served,” CSEA Nassau County Local President Jerry Laricchiuta said. “This decision goes to show that a contract still counts.”
— Wendi Bowie